Bogleheads Stay the Course

Bears and market volatility don’t scare these die-hard Vanguard investors.

Attendees watch a presentation at a conference of "Bogleheads"
(Image credit: George Korzeniewski)

On the morning of Thursday, October 13, as the Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 500 points, a gathering of 370 investors and financial advisers—who were, as a group, losing tens of millions of dollars that very moment—calmly noshed on oatmeal and Danish. “Don’t just do something, stand there!” cheered the meeting’s speakers, quoting the inspiration of the conference, the late Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard and early proselytizer of the index mutual fund. 

During a three-day conference at a Chicago-area hotel, the self-described “Bogleheads” did indeed just stand there. And sit there. Cell phones were muted. Nobody called their broker. Instead, on what turned out to be one of the most volatile days in the stock market’s history, they recalled Bogle-isms about ignoring short-term blips. Through presentations, meals and afternoon treats of ice cream sandwiches, they reassured each other that low-cost, long-term passive investing would eventually pay off better than chasing hot tips or panic selling. 

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Kim Clark
Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Kim Clark is a veteran financial journalist who has worked at Fortune, U.S News & World Report and Money magazines. She was part of a team that won a Gerald Loeb award for coverage of elder finances, and she won the Education Writers Association's top magazine investigative prize for exposing insurance agents who used false claims about college financial aid to sell policies. As a Kiplinger Fellow at Ohio State University, she studied delivery of digital news and information. Most recently, she worked as a deputy director of the Education Writers Association, leading the training of higher education journalists around the country. She is also a prize-winning gardener, and in her spare time, picks up litter.